tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS April 28, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
have three boy and one girl. they were banded and examined. see you at 6:00. >> caption colorado, llc email@example.com >> couric: tonight, nowhere to hide. >> oh, my god, look at that! >> couric: wave after wave of deadly tornadoes, the worst in four decades, tear across the south, destroying everything in their path, turning houses into rubble. hundreds are dead in six states. search teams are going door to door looking for anyone who might be trapped. >> i don't know where she is. i can't find her. >> couric: entire neighborhoods now unrecognizable as survivors look to pick up the pieces. captioning sponsored by cbs >> this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric reporting tonight from london. >> couric: good evening, everyone. we are here, of course, for the
wedding tomorrow of prince william and kate middleton, and we'll have more about that later. but the festivities here stand in stark contrast to heartbreaking news back home. devastating tornadoes in south that have left hundreds dead, churning pillars of destruction that wiped entire neighborhoods off map. more than 160 tornadoes have been reported since yesterday, from mississippi to new york, and some tornado warnings are still up along the east coast. the death toll from the twisters so far is staggering, more than 280 dead across six southern states. so far, there are at least 195 deaths in the state of alabama alone, the deadliest day for tornadoes in nearly four decades. more than 1,100 people were injured, and the damage is extensive. president obama will head to alabama tomorrow to tour the disaster zone. >> i want every american who was affected by this disaster to
know that the federal government will do everything we can to help you recover. >> couric: we have a team of correspondents across alabama tonight, beginning with mark strassmann in hard-hit tuscaloosa. mark, i understand much of the day there was spent searching for survivors. >> reporter: in fact, katie, the bad news around here got worse for folks today. tuscaloosa's death count jumped more than double to 36 people, and even survivors discovered this twister had left them with nothing. >> ( heavy breathing ) >> reporter: his breathing heavy, his heart pounding, chris england watched as twisting fury chalked tuscaloosa. >> it was just so massive. it was just... i mean, we were just in shock. >> reporter: from the third floor of an athletic building at the university of alabama, england recorded these images of the mega-twister. the ruin left behind would break
tuscaloosa's heart-- a swath of rubble four miles long, a half mile wide. >> all this is still here about this time yesterday. i mean, all this was still here. and today, it's gone. >> reporter: ken shackelford's home, gone. >> i know i'm being emotional, but, oh, man, just seeing all this stuff down... >> i got some water. you want some? >> reporter: for the first time, shackelford and his fiancé, latasha temple, were seeing what they had left. her reaction said it all. they rode out the twister in a closet, cowering under a mattress with their dogs. >> our ears were popping and we just held on to the mattress. and within 15 seconds, you could feel the house go. >> reporter: here in forest lake drive, it's all gone-- that house, the one across the street, this entire block, and most of this neighborhood. and remember, this massive tornado was tracked for 370 miles. tuscaloosa's home to alabama's crimson tide. the campus was untouched, but
people here are jarred by the loss of life-- 36 people killed in this college town. >> we have neighborhoods that have basically been removed from the map. >> look at this. >> reporter: shackelford found his dogs alive and new perspective in the ruins. >> the house is gone. i mean, this mattress is still here. >> the mattress is here, and we're here. >> reporter: six people in all lived in that couple's house, three of them students set to graduate next weekend. but they'll have to buy new caps and gowns; the twister took those, too. katie? >> couric: mark strassmann in tuscaloosa, alabama. those pictures are hard to believe, mark. thanks so much. meanwhile, the most devastating tornado cut across four states, a massive twister that sprang up in eastern mississippi and rolled across alabama, hitting two of the state's largest cities before moving up through georgia and tennessee. a deadly path 370 miles long, perhaps the longest tracked tornado in history.
dean reynolds is in the pratt city section of birmingham. dean, the damage there is astounding. >> reporter: it is. it's astounding, and you can't really understand how anybody could have survived this. the tornadoes started touching down on wednesday, and they just kept on coming one after the other. and now, hours later, the death toll in the birmingham area alone stands at 14 with 145,000 people still without power. it's called birmingham's pratt city neighborhood, but no one will be living here for months or years to come. >> this area, as you can tell, is like a bomb has been dropped on it. >> reporter: birmingham mayor william bell spoke for many. >> the power and devastation that it carried, you never knew that, you know, mother nature could be so brutal. >> everything is gone! >> reporter: the homes on hibernian street had been standing here for almost a century; it look less than a minute to level them.
is this your house? >> yes, it was.. >> reporter: willie and demeata carter have nothing left. willie was home when the twister hit and took cover in the bath tub, which wound up on the other side of the house. you flew in it? >> i was in it, yeah. >> reporter: demeata gave us a tour of their place, but you needed an imagination. >> that was my bedroom floor. >> reporter: but she gave thanks all the same. >> i'm glad to have my honey. ( laughter ) >> reporter: a couple of doors down, nevin britton recalled being pinned in his pantry. what was on top of you? >> the house. ( laughs ) >> reporter: they were trying to salvage what was salvageable this afternoon-- clothes or food, mostly. but across the street, it was more ominous as rescuers combed the debris for 72-year-old bessy brewster, still missing late today. >> her dog's been wandering around here, but they haven't found her.
>> reporter: there were actually more than 100 of these funnels during this harrowing night, pulverizing the landscape across 15 southern states. in tennessee, a woman mourned her nephew. >> this is just something you can build back, but that life you can't build back. it's gone. >> reporter: but outside huntsville, alabama, there's a concern that will last a while. the brownsferry nuclear power plant may have to be shut down for weeks due to storm damage. while back in birmingham, amid the ruins on hibernian street, the impact was slowly and painfully sinking in. now, around here, the smell of natural gas has been evident all day. broken gas lines and power lines are just two of the concerns that the people who live here have. and as you look around, you can see they have many, many more. katie? >> couric: dean reynolds in
birmingham tonight. thank you, dean. we've had more tornadoes this april than in any other month on record, more than 600 reported so far throughout the u.s. the average for april is 160. the old record for any month was 542 in may of 2003. elaine quijano is in alabama tonight, and, elaine, i know you've spoken with some experts. why was this particular storm system so devastating? >> reporter: well, you know, it's a good question, katie, and what experts say is, there really is not a clear, single answer to that question. here in cullman, officials say they believe it was one large tornado that tore through this town with winds so strong they picked up this van that was parked about 50 yards away and dropped it right on its roof here. this is the kind of evidence that officials are going to be looking at closely as they investigate the aftermath of these storms. in the wake of a powerful tornado that ripped through cullman, alabama...
>> looking at houses, structures buildings, telephone poles, trees. >> reporter: ...david nadler of the national weather service is documenting the devastation to determine just how large and forceful a storm it was. >> i've seen this type of damage. you're looking at wind speeds over 110, 120 miles per hour. >> reporter: nadler's team conducts what amounts to a forensic investigation, reconstructing the scene of the crime. >> all this happened from, like, this point, if you go about 100 yards, probably happened in a matter of seconds. >> reporter: seconds? >> seconds, yes. >> reporter: but at the national severe storms laboratory in norman, oklahoma, they saw the lawlessness waiting to help. >> about a week ago, the hint that there was something potentially big happening in the middle of this week some time. >> reporter: meteorologist harold brooks says a storm system coming in from the cold rocky mountains was on a collision course with a cold weather system bringing warm, moist air from the gulf of mexico-- perfect conditions for a perfect storm. >> the winds were strong out of the south at low levels and strong out of the west at higher
levels, and that meant storms became organized in such a way that they were able to produce horrific tornadoes. >> reporter: so what's triggering all these twisters? some experts believe a lingering la nina system in the pacific has shifted the pattern of wind flows across the u.s. others blame an unusually strong jet stream. back in alabama, david nadler believes there is other reasons storms in the south are so deadly. >> we can get a lot more tornadoes during the night time hours and people's awareness of what's going on around them at night is going to be lower than it is during the day, not to mention visibility is a lot worse. >> reporter: now, fortunately, forecasters say the worst is over for now. there are no additional severe storms expected for at least another week. katie? >> couric: elaine quijano. elaine, thanks very much. and we'll be going back to the tornado disaster zone later in this broadcast. but right now, in other news, rising gas prices have putting the brakes on america's economic recovery. the government reported today
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precise. only from the makers of tylenol. >> couric: here in london, it's the night before the big day. the sidewalks are already filling up with people staking out the best viewing spots for the wedding. and tonight, they got the surprise of their lives: a visit from the groom. prince william shook hands and posed for pictures on the mall near buckingham palace. he admitted he's a bit nervous about the nuptials. >> thank you very much. a little nervous, a little nervous. ( laughter ) >> couric: also bringing crowds of well-wishers: his stepmother, camilla, and british prime minister david cameron, who says that, 30 years ago, as a 14- year-old, he slept on the streets to see the wedding of charles and diana. prince william's grandmother, the queen, hosted a dinner for about 40 family members this evening at a london hotel.
a million people are expected to line the streets, hoping for a glimpse of the royal couple on their wedding day. there's already a party atmosphere outside westminster abbey. and inside, one last rehearsal for kate middleton; prince harry, the best man; and the young bridesmaids. today, the official wedding program was released online. it features a new black-and- white portrait of will and kate and this message: "we are both so delighted that you will be able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives." one man who won't be joining them is the syrian ambassador to the u.k. britain revoked his invitation because of the violent crackdown on protesters in syria. late today, the bride-to-be arrived at the goring hotel, where she's spending her last night as a single woman and a commoner. america has long had a love-hate
relationship with the british monarchy. on one hand, we got rid of it during revolution; on the other, we find it endlessly fascinating. ben tracy reports some were fascinated enough to make the trip across the pond. >> this is what you're going to be seeing. >> reporter: just in case you can't hear it in her voice... >> we just want to feel a part of it. >> reporter: ...you should know that charlotte barbato hails from the very seat of the american revolution. yet, while she may live in new england, she has long been fixated on old blighty. >> my earliest recollection was princess margaret when she got married. i was probably about nine or ten, and, oh, i remember her stepping out of the car, and she was just magnificent. you know, the tiara and veil, it was just beautiful. >> reporter: now, along with her husband, peter, and daughter, christina... >> we're off to london. >> reporter: ...she's living her lifelong dream. >> we're here. >> it's crazy! >> reporter: charlotte will see a royal wedding up close.
so they stopped first at westminster abbey... >> this is probably the closest you'll get. >> i know. >> ever. >> reporter: ...trying to find the best spot to catch a glimpse of the soon-to-be newlyweds. >> maybe a different location. >> reporter: meanwhile, these twin sisters from oklahoma and texas have already built their own alamo. they've been camping out for 14 hours. this is definitely not the subtle approach to this event. ( laughter ) >> you know any texans that are subtle? >> reporter: they're part of the 600,000 tourists invading london for the big day. >> we need excitement. we need something positive, and this is positive. >> reporter: but the british find our american enthusiasm a wee bit amusing. >> they are excitable people, you know. it's a young... it's a young continent, isn't it? excitable. >> reporter: charlotte barbato doesn't care. she has one thing she's dying to see: a replay of the kiss on a balcony from 30 years ago. >> it's diana's son and it's his wedding day, and he's going to
come out with his new princess, and it's just... the idea of it. >> reporter: that's the fairy tale. >> that's the fairy tale, exactly. >> reporter: in fact, this tale has just such an ending. we have some spots over there in our little broadcast booth... >> no way! >> reporter: ...that we could probably get you into, and you might have a decent shot at seeing something. would you like that? >> i would love that. thank you. oh, my god! >> reporter: how fun would that be? >> fun. a lot of fun. can i wear my hat? >> reporter: you can wear anything you'd like. >> okay. >> reporter: because it's a moment she's been waiting for... >> this time i'm here. >> reporter: ...all her life. ben tracy, cbs news, london. >> couric: and definitely wear your hat. and we'll check back with charlotte and the other americans here to see if the wedding lives up to their great expectations. coming up next, a royal reenactment. with my friends, we'll do almost anything.
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>> couric: even the queen was on hand to give her blessing. >> do you approve of the princess? >> oh, yes. she will one day make a wonderful queen. >> reporter: how many of you are excited about the royal wedding? everybody is. why are you excited? >> because we're happy to see two people, like, that meet each other, so they can live happily ever after. >> couric: are you going to go outside and try to catch a glimpse of them? >> yes. >> couric: the kids at millbank primary school live just blocks away from the site of the royal wedding, but, in some ways, they're a world apart. >> they might have been born here, they might have only gone to school here, but their first two to three years was speaking arabic or bengali or albanian, whatever it might be. >> assuras: the 450 students speak a combined 33 languages. >> hi!
>> couric: in 1981, when diana married prince charles, immigrants made up about 6% of the population of the united kingdom. today, that number has nearly doubled. where are you all from? what countries are you from? >> sudan. >> couric: sudan. >> ethiopia. >> couric: ethiopia. >> south korea. >> couric: south korea. half of london's 1.2 million school-aged children are racial or ethnic minorities. the millbank neighborhood is home to many of the new faces of the united kingdom. >> they certainly don't look like the royal family and they don't sound like the royal family, but i think a point worth making is that the values held by a lot of the families in this school would be absolutely those of the royal family. >> couric: what do you think makes a good family? what qualities? >> working together. >> loving each other. >> being happy for each other. >> couric: do you feel like you have anything in common with prince william and kate middleton? do you share anything with them? >> yeah, we're all humans, at the end of the day.
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>> couric: back now from london. we want to update you now on the deadly tornadoes back home. dean reynolds in birmingham, alabama. and, dean, it's unusual, isn't it, for big tornadoes to hit such highly populated areas? >> reporter: that's exactly right, katie. we got used to these things touching down in rural areas-- ranches or farmsteads in the midwest-- but this one, this series of storms was different. it seemed to sort of hug all the inner states between mississippi and georgia, and hitting all those populated areas in between. and by doing that, it has two results. one is that the damage is much more significant, and, secondly, that the recovery will be that much longer. katie? >> couric: and, speaking of that dean, will the search for survivors continue through the night? >> reporter: that's what we've been told, katie, by the mayor. they're hoping to pull people out of the rubble.
they are hoping that the death toll does not expand. katie? >> couric: and what are the people in the neighborhood you're in right now going to do now? >> reporter: well, they're going to go to some shelters set up both by the state and by the federal government or they're going to go to relatives in outlying areas. but remarkably, for people who have lost everything, the one word we kept hearing was, "we're blessed, blessed to have survived this series of storms." katie? >> couric: dean reynolds in birmingham, alabama. thank you, dean. and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. we'll be on the air tomorrow morning at 4:00 eastern time to begin our live coverage of the royal wedding. the ceremony at the abbey begins at 6:00. afterwards, the prince and princess return to buckingham palace, and, at 8:25, they'll appear on the balcony for their first public kiss as husband and wife. so, until tomorrow morning, i'm katie couric in london. thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org good eve . i'm dana kin you're watching newest newin high-definition. the military's rotc program is coming back to stanford university but not without controversy. details coming up. it is the execution at a death row facility. why governor brown did it and one assemblyman is calling it a boon dogle. golden gate park. a symbol of freedom but will that freedom soon have limits. we will tell you about a proposed curfew coming up. >> i'm allen martin. i'm dana king. breaking news out of the east bay. an amber alert just issued after a teenager was reportedly abducted in oakland. now, right now police are looking for a car with this license